NYC police chief: Tensions like '70s

New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Monday that current tensions between the police and the community remind him of the the 1970s, a turbulent time for the city.

In the wake of the killing of two New York City police officers on Saturday, Bratton was asked on NBC's "Today" if he had ever seen tensions so high.

"1970, when I first came into policing, my first 10 years were around this type of tension," Bratton said. "Who would've ever thought, déjà vu all over again, that we would be back where we were 40 some-odd years ago?"

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The police killings have ignited a political debate over whether protests about the killing of unarmed black men by police, and related comments from President Obama and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, were inflammatory.

Bratton said de Blasio should not apologize to police for expressing sympathy with the protesters. "I don't know that an apology is necessary," he said. "One of the things, a concern at the moment, is this issue is really starting to go down partisan lines: Republican, Democrat. You had [former] Governor [George] Pataki [R] yesterday, former Mayor [Rudy] Giuliani [R] going after the president, Pataki going after the mayor."

Giuliani had said Obama had encouraged people to "hate the police" and Pataki, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, said the killings were a “predictable outcome of divisive anti-cop rhetoric” of de Blasio and U.S. Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderLawyer claims death threats after anti-Black Lives Matter lawsuit Adviser: Obama can’t ‘erase decades’ of racism Airbnb enlists civil rights leaders in discrimination fight MORE.

The commissioner also acknowledged that de Blasio has problems in the rank and file of the police, saying "I think he has lost some officers."

Officers turned their backs on de Blasio when he entered a press conference about the killings on Saturday night. 

Bratton did say that the protests played a role in the killings. "It's quite apparent, quite obvious that the targeting of these two police officers was a direct spinoff of this issue of these demonstrations," he said.